The club GAA season got underway in earnest on Sunday with the respective kick-offs of the Paddy Sheelan Cup and Kevin Mullen Shield competitions – with the Sean McDermotts enjoying the best weekend of all of the local outfits.
In Group C of the Shield, the Seans gave new manager Brian Carroll the perfect start to his tenure with a 2-07 to 1-05 victory over Lann Leire in Dunleer. TJ Duffy and Peter Osborne struck the Seans goals while Tony Kelly netted 0-04 for himself in addition to points from David O’Neill (0-02) and BJ Matthews.
Carroll could call on a strong – if for the first time in 34 years without Brendan McGahon – outfit for the trip to Dunleer and next up for the Seans is a home match against Dowdallshill this Sunday.
Elsewhere in the junior competition, John Mitchels suffered a narrow Group B defeat to Naomh Mairtin B, despite a stirring second half comeback in Monasterboice. Under the tutelage of Hugh Diamond and Gerry Gallagher, the Mitchels found themselves 0-08 to 0-01 down at the break with only Aaron Keely’s point to show for their efforts.
However, the management duo roused their charges for the second half and Brian Coyle’s 1-01 helped dragged them back into contention against their hosts. Kevin Gallagher’s three points and Robbie Coyle’s effort were in vain however, as Naomh Mairtin’s second half goal proved the difference in a 1-08 to 1-06 win for NM.
John Mitchels will be back in Ballybailie next Sunday when they will fancy their chances of getting off the mark for 2017 with Wolfe Tones the visitors. The Westerns’ Kevin Mullen Shield opener against Roche Emmetts was postponed after the death of the club’s former chairman Jimmy Drumgoole. It will now be played on Friday, February 24th.
Ardee St Marys are also waiting to play their campaign opener after their first game against St Mochtas was rearranged for later in the month – so that meant Hunterstown Rovers were the only local side in Paddy Sheelan Cup action on Sunday.
However, with Jim Matthews back in the dug out at Pairc Baile Fiach, a hectic second half saw Dundalk Gaels run out 3-08 to 3-03 winners in Hunterstown. Rovers had held the most slender of leads at the break but the Dundalk men notched 3-04 after the break to stun their hosts.
After David Finn and Tony McKenna dropped out of Louth’s Allianz National Football League, Matthews could have at least called on those two and they lined out together in midfield, with Finn scoring 1-01. Martin Lennon and second half substitute Stephen Cotter scored the other goals while Brendan Lennon and Alex Marrinan scored one point each.
Rovers can point to the lose of Ryan Burns to inter-county duty for their lack of cutting edge in front of the posts but Burns was busy in Drogheda on Sunday afternoon, notching an impressive 0-05 in Louth’s 0-11 to 0-10 victory over Longford -four of them from frees.
Burns, fresh from Sigurdson Cup action with DCU, the forward scored Louth’s first three points of the day at the Gaelic Grounds and was involved in Westerns man Tommy Durnin scoring arguably the finest point of the day in the second half. That’s two wins from two for Colin Kelly’s side now as they have seamlessly re-adapted to life in their return to Division Three.